About the Enterprise
The Cal Poly Bull Test started in 1956 and was one of the earliest performance bull tests in the country. It was designed to be a proven source of range ready bulls available for sale to commercial cattle producers, provide valuable experience for students in management, and as a service to the Beef Cattle industry. The first year, the test was conducted at Peterson Ranch. The bulls were grained on grass pasture and then weighed at the end of the test, providing unbiased results. From 1956 to 1978, the Bull Test was conducted at the Beef Cattle Evaluation Center and in 1979 the Bull Test moved to Poly Canyon on the outskirts of campus. Today the Test is conducted at the Beef Center, which was designed specifically for Bull Test. Originally, only 60 two-year-old Hereford bulls were admitted to the test. By the late 1960s, Angus bulls began joining the Test and in 1978 the program was switched from two year old to yearling bulls. Today there are eight different breeds on test.
Advances in technology have only improved the Test. Ultrasound measurements and EPD (Expected Progeny Differences) profiles are now used to identify the highest quality bulls, along with information collected throughout the test. Data can be processed and generated by computer, enabling the bulls’ statistics to be immediately available to the producers. Automated technologies have increased the efficiency of feeding and handling of the bulls and introduce students to industry standards.